Review Summary: Fractal World's modest nature counts both for and against it, but not the reason you may think
You never need to look very far before you’re inundated with conflicting opinions regarding the internet’s influence on underground music. Having virtually every medium of artistic expression available to me via any device of choice is convenient, but I must confess that I am also guilty of this musical neo-consumerism, in which works created with the utmost sincerity are absorbed and disposed of without a second thought. The age-old cassette culture seems intrinsically pointless to a Gen-Y citizen such as myself, and yet the idea of obtaining Musta Seremonia
on a cassette and shi
tting myself the first time I blare it through an ancient tape deck is strangely alluring. In this day we are completely spoilt for choice, and it’s mildly frustrating to think that the technology that brought me a digital incarnation of said release may have stifled a sacred little moment, because the acquisition was simply that
Acts such as Simon Heath’s Krusseldorf owe a lot to the ‘net in that it has given them a means to express themselves. However, they are simultaneously victims of the very thing that allowed them to attain even the slightest modicum of coverage, as their efforts are washed away in a haze of virtual light pollution. Present, but almost invisible. Fractal World
isn’t the sort of album that is going to dazzle you with spontaneous hooks, breaks and ear candy. Instead, it wafts along at its own pace, gently trickling new concepts and layers into each track as it sees fit, blissfully unaware of its audience and focussing wholly and solely on itself. The manner in which the ideas are developed in each track is so fluid and docile that you can easily mistake them as non-descript, which is a little bit of a shame as one could dismiss the album as unremarkable based on a mere first impression.
No, Fractal World
isn’t necessarily innovative from a compositional standpoint, nor is it breaking new ground in the field of ambient or downtempo music, aesthetically. However, what it does with an established formula is simply so agreeable and unobtrusively contagious that you can’t help but adore it should you give it the time it merits. Poignant, reverberant keys appear to bounce off the discreet synthlines, pulses and sampled pleasantries like rain off a pavement, while everything is loosely bound together by subtle percussion and crystal clear, dynamic production. Fractal World
’s strength essentially lays in how malleable it is, functioning perfectly well as either a committed listen or just background noise. The ease with which you can lose yourself throughout the hour listen means it’s difficult to pinpoint specific highlights, but elevating specific cuts over others essentially becomes a non sequitur in the grand scheme of things.
’s sense of containment counts both for and against it, in that it’s so endearing when given the light of day but so easy to overlook, intentionally or not. Had I not revisited the album by sheer chance of it reappearing in my media player, it’s practically certain that I’d have eventually erased it from my collection, never to be experienced again. This is a natural consequence of such liberal distribution of media, and puts into perspective the magnitude of work that goes unappreciated. Fractal World
’s inwardness may be deceptive, but given enough consideration, it turns out to be rather charismatic.